UofL diabetes prevention program earns CDC recognition


    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has granted the University of Louisville Physicians Diabetes and Obesity Center full recognition as a certified Diabetes Prevention Program.  The three-year designation recognizes programs that effectively deliver a quality, evidence-based program that meets all of the standards for CDC recognition. The UofL program is one of just two in Louisville to earn full recognition.

    More than 84 million Americans – one in three adults — now have prediabetes. Of those 84 million, nine out of 10 of them don’t know they have it. Without intervention, many people with prediabetes could develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

    In Kentucky, diabetes and prediabetes are at epidemic levels, according to the American Diabetes Association. More than 531,000 people in Kentucky, or 14.5 percent of the adult population, have diabetes. Of these, an estimated 108,000 have diabetes but don’t know it, greatly increasing their health risk. In addition, 1.168 million people in Kentucky – 35.5 percent of the adult population – have prediabetes with blood glucose levels higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Every year an estimated 27,000 people in Kentucky are diagnosed with diabetes.

    The center is located in the UofL Physicians Outpatient Center, 401 E. Chestnut St., and serves as the clinical arm of the UofL Diabetes and Obesity Center headed by Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., which focuses on research into prevention of diabetes. “It is immensely gratifying to see the science of diabetes prevention being implemented to improve the public’s health,” Bhatnagar said. “It is through programs such as this that we will turn the tide in the fight against the epidemic of type 2 diabetes.”

    In addition to the CDC recognition, the UofL Physicians- Diabetes and Obesity Center, in a partnership with UofL Department of Medicine, is recognized by the American Diabetes Association for Quality Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support.

    The UofL Physicians – Diabetes and Obesity Center was created in part from support by KentuckyOne Health to provide preventive care and education and to promote research in diabetes and obesity. The Center is directed by Sri Prakash Mokshagundam, M.D. “Once you have diabetes, you can’t get rid of it, but if you have prediabetes, which is higher than normal blood sugar levels, or if you are at risk for developing diabetes, you can prevent it with lifestyle changes,” Mokshagundam said. “Diabetes also can be effectively managed with physician-directed care.

    “We want people to know they have the power to change their outcome.”

    The program is directed by Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator Beth Ackerman, who cited UofL’s own employee wellness program, Get Healthy Now, in earning the recognition. “This recognition was made possible through collaboration with UofL Get Healthy Now and its director, Patricia Benson, assistant vice president for health, wellness and disease management,” Ackerman said. “We currently offer the program to UofL employees who are covered by the university’s health plan, and will begin offering it to other patients in January.”

    The UofL Physicians Diabetes and Obesity Center works to:

    • Elevate the health status of our community by raising awareness of the risks for diabetes and heart disease;
    • Facilitate prevention and management programs;
    • Be a resource to our patients and community health care providers; and 
    • Support researchers in their efforts to fight the growing epidemic of diabetes and obesity.

    The Diabetes and Obesity Center at UofL Physicians offers diabetes self-management education and support if a patient is newly diagnosed or has had diabetes for many years. The center’s diabetes educators assess each patient’s needs and help them individually or to enroll in an education class to meet those needs. Classes cover:

    • Diabetes Prevention
    • Diabetes Self-Management 
    • Pregnancy Planning
    • Diabetes Medications
    • Diabetes and Technology
    • Medical Nutrition Therapy
    • Weight Management
    • Monitored Activity Options

    Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator Paula Thieme is the quality coordinator of the diabetes self- management and support program. For information or to make an appointment, call 502-588-4600.


    Jill Scoggins is proud of her role as an academic communications professional with more than 25 years’ experience with universities in four states. At UofL, she manages communications for several departments, divisions, institutes and centers within the School of Medicine. Her areas include women’s health, pediatrics, family medicine, geriatric medicine, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery and oncology/hematology, among others.